Basic Financial Information Tips Part Ii

Basic Financial Information Tips (Part II)
Scams & bad deals .​
Identity theft is​ the #1 scam .​
Keep your account #s, and Social Security # out of​ the hands of​ those who don’t need to​ know them .​
Don’t pay up-front fees in​ hopes of​ obtaining a​ loan or​ a​ credit card .​
An exception to​ this rule is​ a​ home loan, which usually involves appraisal and credit report fees - paid in​ advance .​
Popular loan scams ask people to​ send a​ fee for a​ promised loan or​ credit card even if​ their credit rating is​ bad .​
Watch out for someone who pays you too much with a​ phony certified check and asks you to​ wire them the difference .​
If you do, you lose .​
Don’t sign untrue statements! Beware of​ companies who loan to​ people with bad credit .​
Credit cards .​
If used well, great tools, if​ used poorly, financial ruin! If you’re too impulsive, hide your card! To avoid paying interest and fees, pay off your entire balance each month (on early or​ time) .​
Most charge no interest if​ the balance is​ paid off within the billing cycle .​
If you pay only the minimum required payment, like one in​ four Americans, you lose .​
Unauthorized use of​ credit cards .​
If a​ charge - which you did not authorize - appears on your credit card statement, contact the credit card company immediately .​
Follow-up your dispute in​ writing within 60 days to​ ensure your rights .​
Disputed items .​
If you are dissatisfied with a​ product or​ service you charged with your credit card, first make a​ good faith attempt to​ resolve the dispute with the merchant .​
If you are unable to​ resolve it, contact your credit card provider and file an​ official dispute .​
Do this within 60 days of​ the charge to​ preserve your rights and avoid negative credit, etc .​
Debit cards .​
If you, or​ someone else, uses your debit card, money is​ deducted from your checking account .​
For pre-authorized purchases (e.g .​
gasoline or​ motels) a​ hold is​ placed on your checking account, usually for an​ amount larger than the expected charge .​
This hold can cause other checks or​ charges to​ be returned -- if​ you don’t have a​ sufficient cushion of​ funds in​ your account, or​ a​ backup system (e.g .​
overdraft line of​ credit loan) .​
Once funds are deducted from your account, it​ is​ often difficult or​ impossible to​ get your money refunded .​
Don’t use a​ debit card for mail order, telephone, or​ internet purchases .​
Even if​ you don’t get what you ordered, you may not be able to​ get your money back .​
Reconcile your checking account .​
The sooner you do it, the easier it​ is .​
As soon as​ you receive your bank statement, compare it​ with your check register – item by item .​
Make sure both you and the bank have recorded things correctly .​
If you find that the bank has made errors, or​ the statement includes unauthorized deductions, contact them immediately .​
Blank checks .​
Keep your blank checks in​ a​ safe place .​
Although you may not be technically responsible if​ someone steals your checks and forges your name, consumers are often unable to​ recover their funds which have been deducted from their account .​
Financial institutions have several defenses including consumers’ negligence .​
Bounced checks .​
To avoid costly bounced checks, tie your checking account to​ a​ revolving line of​ credit (an empty loan) .​
If you have such a​ pre-arranged plan, and write a​ check for more than your available balance, a​ loan advance is​ made to​ pay the check .​
If you pay off that loan quickly, most financial institutions charge you very little in​ interest and fees .​
Keep that line of​ credit reserved as​ your checking account backup – and don’t use it​ for anything else .​
Bounced check fees, are very costly .​
Beware; many banks automatically provide very high-cost bounce protection programs for those who don’t .​
Solicitations .​
Don’t give your account numbers, credit or​ debit cards, or​ your Social Security numbers to​ anyone who phones or​ e-mails you .​
They may not actually be who they claim to​ be .​
They may fraudulently use your information, and the damage done to​ you financially, or​ to​ your credit rating, may cause huge headaches, and a​ horrendous waste of​ your time, money and energy trying to​ correct the problems .​
Investing .​
If you can’t afford to​ lose it, don’t speculate with it .​
The greater the rate, the higher the risk .​
Risk Free .​
Nothing is​ risk-free .​
Especially nothing involving money .​
Too good to​ be true .​
If something sounds too good to​ be true, it​ is! Don’t fall for the scams .​
Heed the clues!
Credit repair .​
Be weary of​ credit repair services .​
Some claim to​ be able to​ fix bad credit .​
If you have inaccurate information on your credit report, you may contact the credit bureaus directly and correct it​ yourself .​
If you have had credit problems, any attempts to​ remove the relevant information from your credit report are illegal, fraudulent, and only temporary.

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